The recently launched BBC 103 FM in Kathmandu has definitely changed my radio habit. Before I was a TV worm, always pressing the remote control and surfing those 40 something satellite channels available on my cable network. In a normal day, I would be in front of that idiot box until 2 AM. Not anymore. It’s the BBC’s World Service tuned all the time and I am constantly updated on world events. In the mean time, I can do a whole lot of work, like, now, I am writing this blog. It has been a good medium for a global citizen like me who wants to listen news from Africa, music from South America, a drama from Europe etc, etc. When it is 3 PM in London, Kathmandu clocks 20:45, time for the tune Changba ho Changba in BBC’s Nepali Service.
There was an interesting report on yesterday’s broadcast of BBC Nepali. Their far-western Nepal correspondent Umid Bagchand (sorry if I misspelled) had filed a report from Kathmandu about the mood of the capital city and his impression of that. His argument, and its’ very much true, was that unlike remote places like Dadeldhura where people were very much afraid to celebrate any festivals because of the messy security situation, Kathmandu was largely unaffected from what was going on in other parts of the country, and was in a festive mood to celebrate Tihar.
The idea on its own was brilliant. Still, he could have made that report even more interesting by making more contrasts between village life and that of the metropolis. Well, there was a huge blast at downtown Kathmandu that injured at lest 38 people, according to the Kathmandu Post, the day before Bagchand filed his report. Nevertheless, Kathmandu is still in festive mood. I can hear children singing some Tihar melodies like Bhailini Aaien Aagana, in front of my house now.
Radio, among other things, is about voice. Some are very much radio friendly and some are not. People make their own image of the radio personality based on his/her voice. I instantly recognize the voice of Khagendra Nepali or Rabindra Mishra when they come on BBC Nepali. Most of the time, when they are not interviewing Nepali personalities, both stated names read other BBC correspondent’s reports. Even when they do so, their voice gives them an edge, a sharp individuality. Such is the power of their voice that, sometime I wonder, had they not read the report, the filing of Adam or Richard or Malcom, or X from Jerusalem or Ramallah or Falluja wouldn’t be that impressive.
Yes, I have to admit that when Mani Rana was in the BBC, I had to spend at least 5 seconds to determine as to who was on air actually: Mani or Khagendra. I could distinguish between those voices anyhow. When Rabindra comes on air, his sharp voice makes me arise even when I am falling asleep. However, if I were a child and understand what they speak, I would definitely go to a sound sleep immediately after their sports segment begins.
I could not find such power in newsreaders of the World Service. It is, perhaps, because I am new to their voice. I have not heard them for a have not listened them for a considerable period so that I could judge. Some female voices are a bit sexier and I like them. In the mean time, I have a suggestion for Khagendra Nepali and Rabindra Mishra. Guys, have you ever spend time, however that might be, pondering about doing some patent thing about that voice?